| Northern Region
| Northeast Region
| Southeast Region
| South Central Region
| West Central Region
An early fall snowstorm dropped a foot or more of snow across northern Wisconsin this week. Snow depths ranged from 1 to 2 inches through central Wisconsin to nearly 2 feet in parts of Iron and Vilas counties.
While the snow may have snowmobilers and skiers itching to hit the trails, most snowmobile trails in Wisconsin do not open until early to mid-December following the gun and muzzleloader deer seasons. Many snowmobile trails are on private property through easements with landowners that usually don't begin until Dec. 1. Using trails before they are open can jeopardize those easements with landowners and damage trails making it more difficult for groomers when they can get out.
A number of state forest properties - including the Northern Highland-American Legion, Brule River and Flambeau River state forests -- indicated they would be rolling, or packing down cross-country ski trails, but not setting tracks. Cross-country skiers may ski on the packed trails, but they also remain open to hikers and snowshoers until they are groomed for skiing. Many hunters use these trails to access hunting sites, so they too will not be groomed until after deer season. Archery deer and other game seasons are open now and hunting and trapping in state parks opens Nov. 15, so skiers, snowshoers and hikers should wear bright colored or blaze orange clothing if hitting the trails this weekend.
Deer are in full rut throughout the state and bucks can be seen pursuing does throughout the day. Bow hunters -- and motorists -- have been seeing a lot of deer activity, and there have been reports across the state of many large bucks being shot. The snow in the north has made it much easier spotting deer and other wildlife.
Pheasant hunters have been successful and the snow and cold brought many more northern waterfowl into the state with large flocks moving south along the Mississippi and along the western shore of Lake Michigan making for some incredible duck hunting this week.
A few of the smaller and shallow Northwoods lakes have developed a thin layer of ice cover, but the majority of lakes were still open. The deep snow across most of the north has nearly all boat landings inaccessible and, for all practical purposes, the open-water fishing season has come to an abrupt end. Single-digit low temperatures are in the forecast for the next few days and will likely result in many lakes becoming completely iced over but early season ice will be thin and dangerous and any thoughts of early ice fishing should be put on hold for a few weeks yet.
Deep snow across most of the north has nearly all boat landings inaccessible.
Anglers fishing Lake Michigan harbors and piers have been dwindling but those out have been catching a few brown and rainbow trout and a few are still being caught on tributaries but flows are low and the run is winding down. Walleye and sauger continue to be caught on Lake Wisconsin and the Wisconsin River below the dam in Prairie du Sac.
Sandhill crane numbers are probably near peak or beginning to decline at traditional staging areas. Good numbers of pine siskins are being seen statewide and more snowy owls moved into the state this week so folks should keep an eye out.
Statewide Birding Report
This has been a great week for pine siskins statewide, redpolls are now flooding into the north, and a few evening grosbeaks are roaming the northern half of state. More snowy owls moved into the state this week so folks should keep an eye out. Waterfowl numbers improving, including swans. Sandhill crane numbers are probably near peak or beginning to decline at traditional staging areas. - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - The Brule area received 10-plus inches of snow between Monday, Nov. 10 and Thursday, Nov. 13. Forest staff began rolling operations on the After Hours Ski Trail and will add track as time permits. Skiers should be advised that it is currently archery deer season, and that gun deer season begins on Saturday, Nov. 22. Consider wearing blaze orange or bright colors, and respect other forest users. The Brule River fishing season is drawing to a close on Saturday, Nov. 15. Most fishermen have already packed it in for the year, and few anglers are out on the river. Forest staff are nearly finished with construction of a new log Adirondack-style shelter on the After Hours ski trail, near the 6 Corners trail intersection. It should have a roof by the end of the week. Gun deer season is almost upon us, opening Nov. 22. Hunters have been out on the forest scouting and baiting hunting spots and looking for deer sign in the fresh snow. Brule River State Forest is located in the Northern Forest Zone and is buck only. Also, a reminder that deer stands and artificial blinds must be removed from state land each evening.- Matthew Miranda, state forest ranger, Brule River State Forest
Forest staff are nearly finished with construction of a new log Adirondack-style shelter on the After Hours ski trail.
This second full week of November introduces the first significant snowfall of the season, with cold air immediately behind. Ice is beginning to form on the fishway structure, and water temperatures are in the mid to upper 30 degrees. The majority of steelhead will stop migrating and be fairly inactive through the winter. At this time during the previous three years, 50 to 100 steelhead passed the fishway. The water is crystal clear and easily fishable, but be careful while walking along the banks, as ice and snow can make slippery conditions. - Paul Piszczek, senior fisheries biologist
Ashland DNR Service Center area
Copper Falls State Park - The area has approximately 15 inches of snow. Cross-country ski trails will not be groomed until after the gun deer season. Skiers are welcome to break their own trail, but trails are open to hikers and snowshoers also until they are groomed for skiing. - Ben Bergey, superintendent
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Interstate Park - Approximately 8-10 inches of wet snow fell on Nov 10 making tracks and other evidence of winter wildlife easy to spot. Watch for bald eagles and migrating waterfowl along the St. Croix River. All park roads are plowed and open. Hiking trails are open, but not maintained for winter use. Winter hiking on the bluff trails is not recommended. Please refer to the Winter Map to locate cross-country skiing and winter recreation trails. Campgrounds remain open but the shower and flush toilet building is closed for the season. - Julie Fox, natural resources educator
Washburn County - About a foot of snow in Washburn County. There are still ducks on the rivers. Bucks are starting to rut and running around. - Nancy Christel, wildlife biologist, Spooner
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - With upwards of 12 inches of snow across most of the northern third of Wisconsin, nearly all boat landings have become inaccessible and, for all practical purposes, the open-water fishing season has come to an abrupt end. A few of the smaller and shallow lakes have developed a thin layer of ice cover, but the majority of lakes were still open, with a bit of fringe ice on many. However, this may change in next week as single-digit low temperatures are in the forecast for the next few days and will likely result in many lakes becoming completely iced over. This early season ice will be thin and dangerous and any thoughts of early ice fishing should be put on hold for a few weeks yet. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Flambeau River State Forest - The forest got approximately 12 inches of snow with this past storm. We are seeing some new faces on the forest with a bull elk and two cows sighted on the Flambeau. Laine Stowell, Elk Biologist, states: Wisconsin is engaged in restoring wild elk in Northwestern Wisconsin. In addition to the elk in the Clam and Moose Lake and Butternut areas, this includes the new elk area of the Flambeau River State Forest, Kimberly Clark Wildlife Area, and portions of the Sawyer, Price and Rusk County Forest. During January and February, 2014 elk were trapped in the Clam Lake Area and moved down into this area. We plan to do more this coming winter. This is the start where we hope to eventually release about 75 elk to start another sub-population of elk in a region that includes eastern Sawyer County, northern Rusk County, and western Price County. During surveys and public meetings 95 percent of participating citizens supported this effort to restore elk in this region. Deer hunters in particular have supported this effort. We hope that this will include deer hunters, this deer season and in future deer seasons, to be particularly careful when targeting their deer. Please be careful of your target and make sure it's a deer. Cow elk are 5 times bigger than their doe cousins. Bull elk are 5 times bigger than their buck cousins with antlers that sweep back rather than hooking forward as with a buck deer. This time of year elk calves are the size of adult doe deer. The white-tailed deer is aptly named with a tall white tail, with white inside their flanks. Elk have a stubby tail, barely seen on a large buff rump patch. During the past 19 years there have been 3 Wisconsin cow elk accidently shot by deer hunters. These elk are the future of our herd. We need as many elk as possible to survive, so hunters please help by making sure it is a DEER this season. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate
Crews will not be grooming cross-country ski trails until after gun deer season but they will work on having them packed with the snowmobiles and possibly the roller this week. - Curtiss Lindner, ranger
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - Crews will be working on packing and leveling the snow on the cross-country trails to form a solid base. Grooming will start after the rifle/gun deer season. Skiing, hiking and snowshoeing are all allowed on the trails until they are groomed for skiing.- Tony Martinez, forestry facilities worker
Antigo DNR Service Center area
Council Grounds State Park - The cross-country ski trails have been groomed and tracked. Ski trail conditions vary from fair to poor with some bare spots. The campground has closed for the season, and docks have been taken out at the boat landing. - Sara J. Gossfeld-Benzing, ranger-assistant property manager, Council Grounds State Park
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled by David Boyarski, fisheries supervisor, Sturgeon Bay
Marinette County - Whitefish and walleye are being caught at the Hattie Street Dam using jig heads tipped with crawler chunks or minnows. Some anglers are fishing from the walkway at Hattie Street using stick baits and zip lures. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - A few anglers are fishing at the dam in Stiles or floating the river in search of trout. Hardware anglers are casting spoons and stick baits in and around the Stiles Dam in search of brown trout, success has been low. Fly anglers have been floating the river from the Iron Bridge Landing to Holtwood Park. Perch are still actively biting at Oconto's Municipal Landing, Oconto Breakwater, and Oconto Park II. Minnows work best, but bring some crawlers as they work as well. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Brown County - Anglers fishing from the shore of the Suamico River are in search of the last yellow perch of the season as low temperatures are expected this week many anglers believe the river will have ice on it by next weekend. Those fishing from shore had success for perch using minnows or crawler chunks fished just off the bottom. Perch that were being caught ranged from 4-7 inches. Most launching boats were duck hunters. Shore anglers fishing at the Metro launch, Fox River, were in search of walleye with some success reported in the late evening hours using crank and stick baits, worm and bobber did not produce as well. Shore anglers fishing at Voyager Park had success for walleye ranging from 7-15 inches using flies, tube-worms and cranks. Those that fished on the main river shore had better success than those that fished the back waters by the locks. Anglers launching from Metro and Fox Point in search of musky had success in 5 to 12 feet of water mirroring the shore line, reef runner crank baits seemed to be a favorite. The muskies that were reported caught ranged from 41-48 inches in length. Anglers launching in search of walleye had low success this week. - Emily Kurszewski, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Shawano County - The soft ground is starting to freeze up. Large flocks of swans have been seen heading to Chesapeake Bay. Some nice flocks of northern ducks are on area waters but won't be around long. Bucks are in full rut and many deer can be seen even early in the evening. Deer gun season is just around the corner so get your stuff ready now. Area waters are just starting to freeze and are not ready for ice fishing yet. - Jim Horne, conservation warden, Shawano
Governor Thompson State Park - Cross-country ski trails will not be groomed until after Dec. 1. There is 4-6 inches on the ground and skiers are welcome to break their own trails. - Maggie Kailhofer, park manager
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Door County - It's not going to last but the large flocks of waterfowl moving south along western shore of Lake Michigan are making for some incredible duck hunting this week. Lots of different sea ducks and divers can be found at the moment along the Bay of Green Bay and all along Lake Michigan. It seems like the Rut is finally in swinging with the onset of this cold weather in our region. Scrapes and rubs are showing up quickly. Those willing to brave the elements have been seeing a lot of deer activity. We are also starting to see a few Bald Eagles along the Bay of Green Bay. There is no snow in the Door County area. - Brandon Bastar, fisheries research vessel captain, Sturgeon Bay
Whitefish Dunes State Park - A little bit more of shoreline available to walk on now in the fall. Huge waves have been crashing up on shore related to the recent high winds. Leaf color in the park is past peak with most of the autumn leaves on the ground. Now is an excellent time to hike the red trail to the top of Old Baldy to look out over the tree tops. Lots of deer and porcupine sightings this past weekend. - Jaclyn Moeri, visitor services associate
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - The deer rut is in full swing. Several impressive bucks have been harvested in the area so far. We avoided the majority of the snow from this past storm, only about 1" in the area. However with this cold spell the snow has remained and allowing for easy spotting of deer and other wildlife. Most likely we will have a lot of standing corn in the area during the deer gun season. - Mark Schraufnagel, conservation warden, Shawano
There is about an inch of snow on the ground in the Waupaca area. Bucks are still moving well but very cold conditions make hunting very tough. Lots of ducks and geese around right now but they will be leaving soon enough with even more bitter temperatures expected. We are in the in-between stage of fishing. Ice is starting to form, but is not thick enough to ice fish on. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Milwaukee DNR Service Center area
Kettle Moraine State Forest, Northern Unit - Most of the trees are now bare, providing great opportunities to view the glacial kames, kettles and eskers throughout the forest. Hard frost and a few snow flurries have settled into the area, and some of the lakes are sporting a thin skin of ice. A few geese remain in the area, and the juncos are back, but most of the summer birds are long gone. Deer have been very active, with the rut in full swing. The 100-400 campsites remain open for first-come, first-served camping. The entrance station is also closed for the season, but self-registration is allowed on available campsites by following the instructions at the entrance station bulletin board. Flush toilets and showers have been shut down, but drinking water is available year-round behind the entrance station. - Deb Harder, visitor services associate
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - In Sheboygan fishing pressure off the south pier has been minimal, but those out have taken a few small rainbow trout on spoons. Shore anglers working the docks near the Deland Marina have been picking up some rainbows and remnant coho. Spawn and skein under a bobber have been effective, as have crank baits in blue, red, and white. On the Sheboygan River, anglers fishing the River Wildlife area below the Kohler dam have caught some steelhead and browns. Nymphs, streamers, and egg imitations have all taken fish. Pigeon River anglers fishing near the mouth have found some sizeable northern pike and smaller steelhead. Fly fishing with egg imitations has produced the most fish. Both fish cleaning stations in Sheboygan are now closed.
Ozaukee County - Port Washington anglers fishing the harbor have been catching a few browns and rainbows near the power plant. Skein and spawn sacs have both been effective. The fish cleaning station near the marina and the one near Coal Dock Park are both closed for the season.
Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee perch anglers fishing near Summerfest have been landing small perch off and on over the past week couple of weeks, with minnows taking the majority of perch. From the fishing pier at the Oak Creek Power plant, fish can be seen swimming in the discharge flow but few are biting. Milwaukee River anglers are showing up in numbers in Estabrook and Kletzsch Parks, and some continue to work near the UWM Park and Ride lot and around North Avenue. Numbers of brown trout are increasing as the salmon taper off. Bright orange or green yarn or flies have produced.
Racine County - In Racine shore anglers fishing in Reefpoint Marina have been catching a few browns and steelhead on skein, spawn sacs, and white tube jigs fished under slip bobbers. A few fish have also been caught off the Reichert Count fishing pier recently, including a 37 inch northern pike and a 10 pound brown trout. Water levels remain low on the Root River in Racine, and fishing pressure has been generally low all over the river. Egg sucking leeches and other flies have produced a few coho and browns. Fish were processed at the Root River Steelhead Facility for the last time on Monday, Nov. 3. More than 1.1 million coho eggs were collected from the Root River this fall, and a total of 2,199 chinook and 1,374 coho salmon and 192 brown and 11 rainbow trout were captured throughout the season. Some sections of stop logs have been removed from the dam, so fish now have free passage up and down around the weir.
Kenosha County - In Kenosha fishing pressure on the piers continues to drop, but anglers are still fishing near the Navy Memorial and in the Simmons Island boat harbor. Browns have been caught on spawn sacs as well as white tube jigs under slip bobbers. Water levels on the Pike River are quite low, and fishing pressure has be
Plymouth DNR Service Center area
Washington County - During this week and the week of Nov. 17 crews will not be stocking any pheasants close to the site of a bridge reconstruction project on Jackson Marsh due to a lot of worker activity around the construction site. The site is located north and west of the intersection of Hwy. 60 and Hwy. G. Pheasants not stocked at the site will be added to the totals stocked on other Jackson Marsh grassland areas (along Church Rd., southwest of the end of Maple Road, and west of Hwy M). The bridge reconstruction project is expected to be completed next week and the bridge reopened to pedestrian traffic by opening day of the gun deer season. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford
Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - Water levels in the main pool were dropped a few inches this week before freeze-up. Muskrat trappers are struggling with the freezing conditions. Most of the marsh froze over Wednesday with a very thin sheet of ice with only the main Rock River channel above and below the marsh dam remaining open. A few hardy late season duck hunters have been having some luck hunting on the marsh. Crews postponed three small late fall prescribed burns on Theresa Marsh and pulled out a "Crissifoli" marsh pump from an impoundment due to the unseasonably cold temperatures. Two "dike armoring" rip rap projects along Hwy. 28 are nearly completed, and the floor of a small DNR storage building on the marsh was paved with concrete last week. Buck rutting activity all around the area is still very high, and many nice bucks have been registered at Washington and Ozaukee registration stations. This week we've had quite a few last minute questions about the upcoming deer season changes and where to hunt. Local hunters are encouraged to read the 2014 deer hunting regulations and check out the "where to hunt" sites on the DNR website where they can find maps and other information, or they can call Wildlife Management staff at the Pike Lake office if they have questions (262-670-3409). - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford
Sturtevant DNR Service Center area
Racine County - On Nov. 2 a male bobcat was hit by a car and killed on the western edge of the City of Burlington. The local warden was able to collect the animal and plans are to have the animal mounted for educational purposes. Bobcat sightings are rare in this part of the state. Several years ago though, a bobcat was caught in a trap and released in Walworth County. Bobcats are very secretive animals and rarely seen. In the southern part of the state they prefer upland areas when conifer swamps are not available. Their main prey is rabbits, but they will also eat squirrel, woodchuck, mice voles, birds, and sometimes sick, injured, very young or old deer. Young males have been known to travel long distances searching for new territories, but it is not believed that the area is supporting a Bobcat population currently. - Marty Johnson, wildlife biologist, Sturtevant
South Central Region
Dodgeville DNR Service Center area
Iowa County - Looks like snow is in the forecast; bundle up and get out for some archery hunting while the rut is in overdrive. Trapping season is underway; Wardens are busy tagging otters and other fur bearers. This year DNR biologists are collecting bobcat carcasses and fisher skulls. Good luck to all you trappers out there. The crops are coming down which makes for some good shining fields. If you'll be out shining deer this fall, keep in mind that you cannot shine wild animals between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. from Sept. 15 through Dec. 31. Also, keep your weapons at home while shining. This includes a handgun even if carried concealed under a Carry Concealed Weapon permit. - Alan D. Erickson, conservation warden, Dodgeville and Adam Stennett, Conservation Warden Recruit, Dodgeville
Lafayette County - Lafayette County is noticing that the whitetail rut is in full swing. Northern Waterfowl have started moving in and area waterways are starting to show periodic ice along the edges. - Nick Webster, conservation warden, Darlington
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - Blustery winds are blowing lots of northern birds into the Horicon Marsh. Flocks of migrating swans have been sighted and many groups of staging sandhill cranes are visible in the area. Pheasant hunting continues to be productive in the area with the weekly releasing of birds by wildlife personnel. Construction continues on the interpretive exhibits at the Education Center. Changes are evident in the upper lobby with the latest editions of a replica osprey platform and Great Blue Heron nesting tree for visitors to get an up close and personal viewing of management techniques on Horicon Marsh. The Horicon Marsh Education & Visitor Center is open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. and is located at N7725 Highway 28, Horicon, WI. - Jennifer Wirth, visitor services specialist
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - Large numbers of sandhill cranes can still be observed staging in the county, particularly northeast of Portage. Likewise, there's been extremely large flocks of blackbirds around the county (I counted over 2,000 birds in one flock at Pine Island Wildlife Area). The cold weather continues to bring the ducks in with fairly good numbers of mallards and scaup around, and also many other diver species in lower numbers. The deer rut is in full swing and many bow hunters (and motorists) have been seeing a lot of deer activity. Farmers are busy trying to get corn off the fields, but there's still quite a bit standing around the county. Typically, the more corn still standing during the gun deer season, the less deer are harvested. Let's hope the weather stays nice for harvesting!- Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette
Walleyes and saugers continue to be caught in very good numbers on Lake Wisconsin and the Wisconsin River below the dam in Prairie du Sac. There have also been a lot of muskies caught below the dam. Deer movement has been on the upswing as the rut is picking up. Archery hunters have been having good success. - Ryan Volenberg, conservation warden, Poynette
Dane County - Pine siskins have started to show up in Dane County. Shaping up to be a good winter finch year. Waterfowl are pushing through with the recent cold. Scoters, long-tailed ducks are among the rarer waterfowl. Tundra swans should now be accumulating on Madison lakes with the freeze up. Bucks are fully in the rut. Lots of day-time rut activity in Dane County. Crop harvest is still behind. Lots of standing corn relative to other years. - Andy Paulios, wildlife biologist, Fitchburg
West Central Region
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Buffalo County - Deer rut still going strong, there have been reports of many large bucks being shot in the first two weeks of November. Duck hunters have been doing well on the Mississippi, with mallards being the most commonly harvested duck. The Tundra Swan migration seems to be approaching its peak, large flocks have been observed using the big lake waterfowl refuge between Nelson and Alma. -Mark Rasmussen, Wildlife Biologist
La Crosse County - The area received about 2 inches of snow. Numerous tundra swans, geese and ducks have migrated into the area. Waterfowl hunting has been sporadic with success dependent upon weather conditions. Water temperatures on the Mississippi River have dropped, but the walleye fishing has still been slow. A few saugers and an occasional walleye are being caught on jigs rigged with minnows or plastics. Fishing has been difficult with the large amount of floating vegetation on the river. Boaters are reminded to remove this vegetation from boats and trailers before leaving the boat launch area. - Dale Hochhausen, conservation warden, La Crosse
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Buckhorn State Park - The park received about 1 inch of snow so far. When we have a base of at least 8 inches of snow, ski trails will be groomed. Snowshoes will be available to check out for free from the park office. Call ahead to check staffing of the office as staff may be out in the parks working.Hunting is occurring in the Yellow River Wildlife Area and Buckhorn Wildlife Area. Bow hunting has started in the park and wildlife areas as of Sept 13. Other hunting and trapping starts in the park on Nov. 15. Check out hunting maps online or at the park office for areas that are bow hunting only and the gun small game/turkey/gun deer area and closed areas. Deer can be registered at the park office during open office hours. Park and wildlife areas are in Central Forest, buck only unless a hunter purchased an antlerless public tag for central forest. - Heather Wolf, park manager
Roche-A-Cri State Park - The main gate and campground are closed for the season. Parking is in the winter lot on Czech Ave. Park stickers are still required; please use the self-registration. Please do not park in front of the main gate. Hunting in Roche-A-Cri will start Nov. 15. Hunting maps are available at the winter lot or online. Maps showing open and closed areas are also posted on bulletin boards. Wearing blaze orange is recommended Nov. 22-30. There are areas outside the park open for early bow hunting, small game and trapping. - Heather Wolf, park manager